One of the most common and frightening symptoms of anxiety is a racing heartbeat. When I was suffering from frequent panic attacks, my heart would beat so furiously that I worried I was having a heart attack. The following technique can be used to help calm yourself down and return your heartbeat to a more normal pace when feeling anxious.
It all starts with a deep breath...
When you feel overwhelmed with anxiety, take a very deep breath through your mouth and hold it in. While continuing to hold your breath, flex or tense every muscle throughout your body as intensely as you can. Feel every inch of your body tremble from the strain. Continue squeezing your muscles for 5-10 seconds, and then immediately relax every muscle as you slowly exhale through your nose.
As you exhale you will feel an incredible release of tension and stress throughout your body. Your heartbeat will slow to a more natural and relaxed pace as does your breathing, which helps to calm you down.
Breathe normally for the next minute or so and then repeat this exercise. Doing just one or two iterations is often enough to provide tremendous relief.
I’ve used this technique to overcome panic attacks when flying, stuck in traffic, and before public speaking. It helps provide immediate relief and can snap you out of an anxious state of mind. When anxiety arises, give it a try.